After Independence, Karnataka continued with the traditional techniques of soil conservation and water retention treatments with a host of programmes being implemented by the Agriculture Department. In 1983 a World Bank assisted comprehensive watershed project was taken in Kabbalnala.
In order to capitalize on the gains of the Kabbalanala Project in 1984, Government of Karnataka created four Dry Land Development Boards under four revenue Divisional Commissioners with a jurisdiction over 19 districts. Each district had a multidisciplinary team comprising of line departments. The main objectives were:
1) Conserve basic resourses such as soil, rain water, and vegetation.2) Achieve higher biomass production both in arable and non-arable areas3) Impart stability to crop yields through proper rainwater management, crop patterns and land use.4) Enhance the income of individuals through adoption of alternative enterprises.5) To restore and sustain ecological balance.
The success of these watersheds encouraged GOI to follow the strategy of watersheds in principle and launched a massive NWDP in 7th five year plan extended to 693 watersheds located in 99 districts of the country with a total outlay of Rs. 239 crores in 15 states, including Karnataka.
This project was re named has NWDPRA during 8th five year plan and was operated in 85 watersheds in Karnataka ranging from 5000 to 10000 hectares.
7. Two Decades of Watershed in Karnataka The various partners for these projects included Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India, World Bank, Danida (Royal Danish Govt. assistance), DFID (British Govt. assistance), German Development Bank (KFW) and SDC (Swiss Govt. assistance). State Plan funds were also used for the over all development of watersheds. Details are furnished in Annexure-1 under Annexures